Australia, Case Studies, Features

Rapid growth sees Saunders International bring a range of new cranes into its fleet

Saunders has grown from its humble beginnings as a specialist tank business to a mid-size construction, engineering and maintenance business, servicing a range of industry and infrastructure clients. This has seen the need for the company to rapidly expand its crane fleet to keep up with demand.

Saunders International Limited (ASX code: SND) is a multi-disciplined engineering and construction company providing design, fabrication, construction, shutdown, maintenance and industrial automation services to leading organisations across Australia, and the Pacific region. The Saunders Group provides innovative cost-effective solutions to the oil and gas, infrastructure, defence, water, power, new energy, mining and minerals sectors. 

Saunders’ head office is in Rhodes, New South Wales and it has multiple offices across Australia and a subsidiary in Papua New Guinea. Saunders’ Plant and Equipment yard is the Newcastle suburb of Redhead – and the company has turned to Gleason cranes to keep up with its bustling business.

Plant and equipment manager Matt Nixon explains the growth of the company and the need to quickly bring new cranes into the business to ensure Saunders is able to continue its growth.

“Our speciality remains in fuel storage, we have recently been awarded a number of lucrative contracts that has seen our business materially increase in revenue over the past two years. We identified a need to bring a range of new cranes to our fleet to complement what we currently had,” Nixon said.

Saunders has a range of cranes for its specialised work.

“We currently have a 55t Gove, 50t Kobelco, 85t lattice boom crawler, 30t city crane, a 20t franna and a 60t Zoomlion ZCT600V532.

“We have been so impressed by the Zoomlion in the civil infrastructure side of the company we have just placed an order for a second from Chris and the team at Gleason Cranes,” Nixon said.

The Zoomlion is currently working at Saunders’ precast facility in Redhead which gave Nixon and the team the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the crane before investing in its second for the construction section of Saunders International.

“The facility is only 500 metres down the road, so I went down and spoke to some of the guys that have been operating the crane,” Nixon said.

“Speaking with them, they have been really impressed with the Zoomlion. One said it is the best crane he has driven and the consensus was they are smooth and fast on site, with an impressive capacity.

“I think people have been critical of Chinese brands in the past, but the current Zoomlions are an impressive piece of machinery that can keep up with the rest,” Nixon said.

The Weichai engine in the Zoomlion produces 154kw in power and the boom has a reach of 48 metres. With the jib incorporated, it comes in at an impressive 62 metres. 

With a gradeability of 45 the crane is agile on site, weighing in at 62.5t with an option for an extra 20t counterweight. 

The Zoomlion will be immediately put to the test when it arrives in Redhead, with Nixon to ship it to Darwin immediately.

The relationship between Saunders International and Gleason’s will continue beyond the Zoomlion, with two used Tadano GR550s also brought on board.

The rough terrains were brought in to service the construction side of the company, providing strong capabilities and toughness to stand up on site. 

Being one of the largest used crane dealers in Australia provides numerous perks for the team at Saunders when it came to purchasing the used cranes.

“Chris and the whole team at Gleason Cranes have been fantastic to deal with I would not have one complaint with them,” Nixon said.

“I have had a relationship with Chris now for four years so we definitely had a level of trust, you get to work out people in this industry and you know who is fair dinkum and who is not and Chris is fantastic,” he said.

Nixon has been extremely impressed with the Gleasons team and the support they provided after buying the cranes.

“It’s not just ‘I’ll sell you crane’ and that’s it, the after sale service that they provide is second to none,” he said.

“If I ever have a problem on my cranes, I can ring Chris and let him know, ‘this shouldn’t be like this’ he then goes to the end of the earth to help me out, gets it fixed, no matter where it is in Australia too,” Nixon said.

Chris Logan explains the relationship between Gleason Cranes and Zoomlion over the years and how it ensures he can support customers in Australia.

“We’ve been bringing in cranes from Zoomlion for over 10 years. We have an excellent relationship with the factory, and they are a professional company to deal with. They also offer finance on their equipment. If a customer is interested, we can provide finance as part of the crane’s package. Zoomlion exclusively finances its own product, nobody else’s,” said Logan. 

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